It was a few days late, but Google has finally released the fourth Android P developer preview (beta three) for its Pixel phones. This new build is listed on Google’s website as a “release candidate for testing,” meaning it should be more stable than the previous build. But how stable is it? Should you install Android P on your phone, or should you wait until the official Android P release in Q3?

I’ve been using the fourth Android P preview on my Pixel 2 XL since it was released. Here’s my experience so far.

Android P beta bugs, stability, and battery life

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The third developer preview, which was released at the beginning of June, was the first developer preview I could recommend to our readers. Unsurprisingly, the latest dev preview is even more stable than that.

I haven’t experienced any app crashes on this developer preview, though multitasking can be a bit laggy at times. I have been getting less than ideal battery life this time around too, with my Pixel 2 XL only getting around 3-3.5 hours of screen-on time on a single charge. That’s not great, but not bad for a developer preview.

NFC is still disabled in this preview, so you won’t be able to use Google Pay if you install this preview.

Other known issues

Google’s release notes page lists many more bugs associated with this update:

  • Users who depend on Accessibility Services — such as Talkback and Switch Access — may have challenges using this Android beta build, particularly the new system navigation, Overview, and the Launcher.
  • Battery life may be regressed in this release for screen-on and screen-off use cases.
  • System navigation still experiences some jank and frozen states on Pixel devices.
  • Secondary user’s lock screen displays blank space between status bar icons when enabled battery percentage in owner.
  • Device setup may be delayed in some cases and display the “Just a sec…” screen for several minutes.
  • Google hotword settings may turn off after enabling in Setup Wizard.
  • Setup Wizard may show black screen momentarily after adding finishing touches.
  • Playback over Bluetooth may be unstable in some cases.
  • A device user is incorrectly prompted to add an account when enrolling (using QR code and zero-touch) factory reset protected devices. As a workaround, use the Back button to return to the welcome screen and repeat the process.
  • Possible looping setup for work profile.
  • Calls may drop after hold/unhold operation.
  • Device cannot be factory reset. Workaround is to remove all Google accounts from the device first.
  • If Google app is not set up, tapping Ambient music from Always-On Display does not unlock screen, and Google crashes.
  • Now Playing feature unavailable for secondary user.
  • Do-Not-Disturb Driving automatic rules option not available for secondary user.

There are many more known issues in this developer preview, which you can find at this link.

When should you give Android P a shot?

Yes.

We still have one developer preview to go until we see a final Android P release in Q3, but I think this new build is stable enough to try out on your main smartphone. I haven’t run into many issues at all with this beta build, but your mileage may vary.

Battery life might take a hit, and obviously you won’t want to install the beta if you rely on NFC payments. If those things are enough to turn you away, I’d suggest waiting until Q3 to install the official version once it’s released.

  • Preview 1 (initial release, alpha)
  • Preview 2 (incremental update, beta)
  • Preview 3 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing, beta)
  • Preview 4 (release candidate for testing)
  • Preview 5 (release candidate for final testing)
  • Final release to AOSP and ecosystem

Now I want to hear from you. Have you used the third Android P beta yet? If so, how has your experience been so far?

Next: Android P update tracker: Here are all the phones that run Android P | Android P beta hands-on: Gestures galore